Deal W. Hudson
February 17, 2008
Pro-life activist John Jakubczyk writes about Barack Obama, “He is an attractive, articulate voice for secular liberalism.” Yes, the message is secular liberalism, but the voice is that of a preacher. Senator Obama sounds more like a minister than the real minister in the race, Gov. Mike Huckabee.
When you listen to the phrasing and cadence of Obama’s sentences, the effect is unmistakable – it’s the sound of an African-American Evangelical preacher. The irony is obvious: The message is secular liberalism, but the mode of rhetorical delivery is Christian, Southern, African-American, and Evangelical. It’s a sound that can make it seem like the message connects with social conservatism when, in fact, Obama is the candidate least in tune with traditional voters.
Brian Saint-Paul, the editor of InsideCatholic.com, has documented Obama’s “gruesome abortion record.” Obama opposed Illinois’ Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which made it unlawful to kill a child once it was already out of the womb.
As Saint-Paul comments, “What’s most upsetting is the fact that the bill actually contains language specifically stating that it does not infringe on abortion law,” leaving even the most stalwart abortion defenders virtually no reason to oppose it.
The vote represented the true Barack Obama, not the stirring tones of his Evangelical altar call to hope. His rhetoric accounts for the religious fervor that has attached itself to the Obama campaign: He’s preaching, and the number of converts is rising.
Already, there are reports of his converts swooning, slain by the power of the Holy Spirit, when he reaches across the rope to shake their hands. Such is much of the spiritual tradition he represents. Obama didn’t sound like this a year ago. It is a messianic style he has been developing throughout his campaign: The closer he gets to embodying the Evangelical style, the more successful he becomes. Don’t expect him to tone it down.
Obama will be the nominee, and his opponent will be John McCain. Liberal pundits will decry the Evangelicals in the GOP and hope they stay home, while the Democratic campaign will resemble a tent revival, complete with Reverend Obama holding his arms up in prayer.
Maybe the pseudo-religious tone of Obama’s speech is what lured Doug Kmiec, former dean of the Catholic University Law School, to describe Obama as a “natural for the Catholic vote.” Kmiec, known as a pro-life conservative, shocked the pro-life Catholic community with his shilling for Obama.
They shouldn’t have been so surprised. Professor Kmiec is just one more law professor hoping for a Supreme Court nomination. Why not get on board the Obama Express early and jump to the front of the line of potential candidates?
Take a look at this statement from Kmiec: “Beyond life issues, an audaciously hope-filled Democrat like Obama is a Catholic natural.” Beyond “life issues”? Since when is a Catholic voter supposed to ignore the life issues? That’s not the teaching Catholics have received either from the U.S. bishops or from the Vatican.
That a Catholic jurist as prominent as Kmiec would be shilling for Obama and urging Catholic voters to get beyond the life issues, is both sad and outrageous.
It’s particularly unfortunate because Doug Kmiec knows better. At this point, it looks like his motivation is the hope for an appointment should Obama get elected. And of course, left-wing Catholic organizations will use Kmiec’s words to justify what many Cafeteria Catholic voters have been doing for years: voting for a pro-abortion politician.
As the election gets closer, there will be more converts to the Obama revival. There will also be those who think they see a winner and want to hop on board.